Thursday, January 15, 2009

Manifest Hope Inaugural Art Show Arrives in DC

See more here.
If you're in DC, check out the show here.


Bonnie Brae Knights Marching in Inauguration Parade

Sweet. Bonnie Brae is a home in New Jersey for troubled kids.

Bonnie Brae, a residential school for boys in Bernards Township, received notification that its marching band, the Bonnie Brae Knights, is among the first 49 groups invited to participate in the two-hour inaugural parade on January 20. The delighted CEO Bill Powers spoke on behalf of the 98 boys who reside at Bonnie Brae expressing his deep appreciation for this honor. Inaugural planners received a record 1,382 applications, up from the usual 300 to 400.

Powers said, “Choosing the Knights to perform in the Inaugural Parade will send a powerful, positive message to the nation’s children who are in foster care, group homes, or residential centers.” Founded in 2004 by a Bonnie Brae resident, the Knights have performed for local, state, and national audiences. Because Bonnie Brae is one of New Jersey’s oldest and largest residential treatment centers for abused, neglected and abandoned youth, the Knights performance in the Inaugural Parade will hold great significance for the residents and others like them.

Song To Obama: Someone to Wake

Listen and download here. I like it. Christian Kiefer wrote the song and Will Johnson sings it.

Kiefer says it might be premature to suggest that Obama will be able to fix all the problems confronting the country. A history teacher in Sacramento, Calif., he also has five children of his own, ranging in age from 2 months to 14 years. In his song, Kiefer says Obama is acting like a grownup.

"He says everything is all right in the same way that you might hold a child in your arms who has an ouwie," Kiefer says. "And you stroke that child, and you say everything's all right. That's essentially what I think what Obama has done for us as a nation — taken this basically broken child and said, 'Hey, come on, everything's good. We're tough, we can do this. Let's move forward.' " NPR

Obama's Fiscal Responsibility Summit

Update 2-23: See the video here.
Apparently, Obama will look to make "entitlements" such as social security, Medicare and Medicaid more efficient. Obama always talks about whacking Medicare Advantage.

President-elect Barack Obama pledged yesterday to shape a new Social Security and Medicare "bargain" with the American people, saying that the nation's long-term economic recovery cannot be attained unless the government finally gets control over its most costly entitlement programs.

That discussion will begin next month, Obama said, when he convenes a "fiscal responsibility summit" before delivering his first budget to Congress. He said his administration will begin confronting the issues of entitlement reform and long-term budget deficits soon after it jump-starts job growth and the stock market.

"What we have done is kicked this can down the road. We are now at the end of the road and are not in a position to kick it any further," he said. "We have to signal seriousness in this by making sure some of the hard decisions are made under my watch, not someone else's." WaPo
Obama appears to be making rounds with reporters, getting information out there. Imagine if Bush had done this. Then he wouldn't have had to have such a painful farewell this evening. Obama also is intent on closing Guantanamo. 
In a wide-ranging 70-minute interview with Washington Post reporters and editors, the president-elect pledged quick action on the Middle East once he takes office, promised to support voting rights for D.C. residents, and said he will consider it a failure if he has not closed the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by the end of his first year in office.

Chu Gets Geeky Answers Online Questions

Steven Chu, Obama's pick for secretary of energy, talks photosynthesis and photovoltaic and stuff like that:

Letters to Obama From Navajo Kids

Heard on NPR:

Dear Mr. Obama,

Hello, my name is Alisa Talor Yazzie. My maternal clan is Deer Springs, born for Bitter Water, and my paternal clan is Red Bottom clan, born for Towering House. I am full-blooded Navajo and I am 9 years old. At my school I voted for you, I wanted you to win. I was also a princess at my other school but I gave up my crown. There are a lot of things that are happening in my life. My uncle has kidney failure on both kidneys, but he'll be all right, won't he? I hope so. I just wanted to say hi, and I hope I will be able to see you once. When I get a new phone I will tell you my number.

Sincerely,

Alisa Yazzie

Read more letters here.
The letters are part of a creative writing project:
The project was the idea of Margaret Erhart, who teaches creative writing at Eagle's Nest Intermediate School in the high desert of northern Arizona. The school is in Tuba City, Ariz., on the Navajo Nation reservation.

Duncan Wants to Simplify Financial Aid Process

Here's Arne Duncan, Obama's pick to head up the education department, talking about getting into the teaching profession, trade schools, loan forgiveness and financial aid.

Republican Ammunition for Grilling Holder

Eric Holder, Obama's pick to be attorney general, is set to get a grilling this morning at his confirmation hearing. He's likely to be Obama's most grilled pick. But ultimately, most say he will be confirmed. It will be live at C-SPAN.org. 
The Swamp offers up the republican opposition research:

As Eric Holder Faces A Nomination Hearing For Attorney General, Will He Continue To Show A Lack Of Judgment And Independence?
______________________________________________________________________

Holder Played A Major Role When President Bill Clinton Offered Clemency To 16 Former Members Of FALN, A Puerto Rican Terrorist Organization:

In August 1999, President Bill Clinton Offered Clemency To 16 Former Members Of The Puerto Rican Terrorist Group The Armed Forces Of National Liberation (FALN). "The dustup began Aug. 11, when the President offered clemency to 16 former members of the FALN..." (Edward Lewine, "How Bill Chose Clemency," [New York] Daily News, 9/5/99)

FALN Was Responsible For Bombings In The 1970s And 1980s That Killed Six People. "The FALN was responsible for a wave of bombings in the late 1970s and early 1980s that left six dead, although none of those freed were tied to any deaths." (Shannon McCaffrey, "Reno: Puerto Rican Terrorists An 'Ongoing Threat'," The Associated Press, 10/20/99)

Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder Played A Major Role In The FALN Clemency Decision According To FALN Documents And Memos. "Holder, a Barbadian immigrant's son who grew up in Queens and received his law degree from Columbia, has played major roles in the probe of Democratic funny-money in the 1996 elections, the Sexgate scandal and the recommendation to President Clinton on whether to free FALN terrorists from jail. A list of FALN documents withheld from Congress shows that many memos on the FALN clemency decision went directly to Holder, while Reno's role was minimal." (Brian Blomquist, "Ailing Reno Yielding Reins Of Justice," New York Post, 12/1 5/99)

Although The FBI Opposed Clemency, Holder Supported Clemency For The FALN Members. "Although The New York Times reported that the FBI, Bureau of Prisons and U.S. state attorneys opposed clemency, Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder, the Justice Department official most involved with this issue, reportedly supported clemency. 'Eric Holder told me he was recommending that,' a high-ranking official said. Ruff also supported clemency, sources said. Holder declined to comment." (Edward Lewine, "How Bill Chose Clemency," [New York] Daily News, 9/5/99)

In 1997, Holder Met With Three Members Of Congress And Made Recommendations To Them About How The FALN Members Could More Easily Be Granted Clemency. "The committee's documents show that Mr. Adams and Eric Holder, the Deputy Attorney General, met on Nov. 5, 1997, with Representative Luis V. Gutierrez, Democrat of Illinois, and Representatives Jose E. Serrano of the Bronx and Nydia M. Velazquez of Brooklyn, both Democrats, to discuss the case of the Puerto Rican inmates. According to Mr. Adams's notes, Mr. Holder told the members of Congress that because the prisoners had not applied themselves for clemency this could be taken that they were not repentant, and he suggested that a statement expressing some remorse might help. In their testimony today, both Mr. Adams and Mr. Holder declined to answer several questions about how the clemency decision was reached, citing executive priv ilege. Both said, however, that the Justice Department had acted appropriately throughout the process." (Neil A. Lewis, "Records Show Puerto Ricans Got U.S. Help With Clemency," The New York Times, 10/21/99)

Holder Played A Major Role When President Clinton Pardoned Fugitive Marc Rich In His Final Week In Office:

During His Final Week In Office, President Bill Clinton Pardoned Marc Rich, An International Financer Who In 1983 Was Indicted For Evading Nearly $50 Million In Taxes. "As one of his last official acts, Mr. Clinton released a list of almost 140 people to whom he had granted pardons, which restore civil rights like voting, or commutations, which shorten prison terms. Many of the people from the metropolitan area were white-collar criminals who had committed financial fraud or similar acts, including Marc Rich, a commodities trader wanted for evading nearly $50 million in taxes." (Edward Wong and Sherri Day, "Former Terrorist Is Among Those Pardoned Or Freed In Clinton's Final Acts In Office," The New York Times, 1/21/01)

See the confirmation hearing schedule for today here.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Portraits of Obama's People

Cool photos of Obama's team (52 of them) at the NYT by photographer Nadav Kander, who narrates the online portrait gallery with Kathy Ryan, director of photography. Really, really nice work. Love Reggie Love, David Axelrod, Tom Daschle, Rahm Emanuel, Ken Salazar, Peter Orszag. 


Obama's Voice Like Aerosolized Paxil


This is a great opening sentence from a story at Slate:

When these frightful times of financial confusion and credit constipation become too much, I dial up Barack Obama on YouTube to suppress my anxieties. The Voice works like aerosolized Paxil on my limbic system, reducing my blood pressure and lifting my mood.
I do the same thing! There is something very reassuring about Obama's demeanor and his voice.
Here's more:
Obama's endless hunt for common ground, his desire to bring Kumbaya moments to all, endears him to the multitudes. He's willing to work with everybody from the Republicans to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and even the Rev. Rick Warren, whom he has tapped to give a prayer at his inauguration. Defending his Warren invitation, which angered some gays and lesbians, Obama uncorked his stock explanation that we must be willing to "disagree without being disagreeable."
Really good read.

Coburn Loses Bet Sings Rocketman

He had a football bet with Sen. Bill Nelson. Sen. Tom Coburn lost. Coburn sings Rocketman. Nothing else really here. Just funny to see a politician acting a fool on purpose.

Biden and Graham Update Obama on Overseas Trip

No one seemed to notice, but Joe Biden and Lindsey Graham, John McCain's buddy, recently traveled to Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they're back! They went to those countries to do some listening, to get a feel for what lies ahead. It looks like Joe and Lindsey had a pretty good experience. They seem to be laying the groundwork to press the need for more financial support for those countries. The Swamp has a transcript of when they sat down with Obama for a debriefing:

VICE PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN: Look, folks, first of all, good to see you all. And the president-elect had asked me a while ago whether I would undertake this trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq for the expressed purpose of inspecting the situation on the ground, to make a determination to what the situation was, what the problems were, and to come back and report to him.

And I asked Senator Graham to come along with me, because this is -- these are all bipartisan issues. This is not a partisan question as it relates to any one of these three countries that we visited. And I really appreciate the fact he came along. And I think you'll find we're pretty much on the same page.

This is not the moment, because we've not given the full-detail report to the president, on all our findings, but so I'm not going to discuss any detail of the trip at this point, except to say three things.

One, and it's going to sound like it's the normal thing you have to say. But the truth of the matter is this is, I think, my 10th and Senator Graham's 12th or 13th trip into Iraq and my 15th trip into the region.

It is amazing. It is amazing, the confidence of our military commanders and the sacrifice our military is making in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is truly amazing.

The second point I'd like to make is, we went to listen. We went to listen, not to convey policy. As the president-elect has stated, we have one president at a time. And so I made it very clear in speaking with -- I think we literally met with every leader in each of the three countries; military as well as civilian.

I made it absolutely clear that I was not there to make policies; I was there to listen and occasionally express concern about some of their actions or lack of actions.

The third point I'd like to make is, there is about to become a shift, which you've all known has been talked about. We mentioned it in the campaign. And that is that there needs to be more resources to attend to the situation in Afghanistan, which has deteriorated over the last six years. It has not gotten better.

And so there's going to be a significant shift.

The president of the United States, President Bush, has ordered 35,000 troops into the region. We spent a great deal of time with the commanders in place discussing how they'd be deployed, what the objective was, what the purposes were. But the truth is that things are going to get tougher in Afghanistan before they get better.

And so we spent considerable time talking to the Pakistani leadership, the military leadership, their intelligence leadership, their ISI, and their political leadership. And Pakistan's position on Afghanistan is going to affect our ability to succeed in Afghanistan.

So there's a good deal that the president is going to have on his plate when he is sworn in, when we are sworn in. But we are going to be providing a much more detailed report to the president and his national security team, in conjunction with -- in conjunction with Senator Lindsey Graham, who is -- is adding his own nuanced positions to some of the things we've talked about. But it was -- the concluding point I'll make is -- and I think, before I turn it over to Senator Graham -- we both conveyed a message -- a generic message, and we both concluded that unless we accomplished what I'm about to say, it's going to be difficult in all three countries. There's a need to build institutions, political institutions that are sustainable, in each of the three countries. Personalities, focusing on personalities, is not the key to success in any one of the three countries.

And we conveyed that notion to each of the countries in question, and they all have slightly different -- actually, significant -- different problems. But the success in each of the countries affects the possibility of success in the other countries.

And so it was a very worthwhile trip. And again, we conclude, Mr. President, by saying you're about to become the commander in chief of the finest group of military personnel I think this country has ever, ever assembled, the finest in the world. And I know that sounds like hyperbole, but you would be stunned at the capacity and the understanding and the wisdom of the military leadership you have in place and you're about to inherit.

I'd like to turn it over to Senator Graham.

SEN. GRAHAM: Well, number one, I think this is a good way to get started. The campaign is over; I am disappointed in the outcome, but like every American I'm excited about what awaits our country in the future.

This time next week we will have a new president. We'll have made history in our own country. And I cannot tell you the impression it left upon everybody we met that -- the fact the two of us came. And that's why I wanted to come.

They followed the election. They know how contentious it was. And quite frankly, a lot of the leaders of these countries were surprised that there would be a bipartisan delegation this soon, and that I would be in it, given my relationship to Senator McCain. But I talked with Senator McCain.

The reason I wanted to go is because our young men in harm's way need us to do better here at home. The campaign's over, but the war is not. When it comes to Afghanistan, I am completely supportive of the president-elect's decision to send 35,000 troops into Afghanistan. They're needed.

It is a fair criticism to say, Mr. President, that we have taken our eye off the ball in Afghanistan and we need to reengage. And that reengagement is going to come at a heavy price. I would like every American to know that not only are the troops needed; unfortunately, casualties are likely to increase. But we have a game plan in Afghanistan that I think justifies the expenditures of blood and treasure that's about to come.

As we all know, this is the place where we were attacked -- the planning came from on 9/11. This new president and vice-president are as committed to any administration that I know of to make sure that we get Afghanistan right. And to get Afghanistan right, you need to leave where there's stability. We've got to recapture lost ground, and we do need to build up the institutions.

As to Pakistan: historic change in Pakistan. We have a civilian government, duly elected by its people, taking over from what had been, in the past, a dictatorship.

I cannot tell you how much enthusiasm we saw in Pakistan for this new president. There's a moment in time here for this country to reengage the international community, to make sure that we have international support to stabilize Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq. And this president's popularity, and the respect that he has earned throughout the world, gives America a chance to reengage not only in the region, but in a way that will, in the long term, make this job easier, take some pressure off our troops.

And that's a compliment to you and the way you have campaigned.

The Biden-Lugar that's pending before the Senate that would create economic aid in a variety of fashions to Pakistan over a 10- year period is a must.

And I know people at home in South Carolina have lost their jobs. We're about to incur $1 trillion of debt here soon to stabilize a weakened economy never seen since the Great Depression. But to those Americans, taxpayers, the money is needed in Pakistan because we cannot win in Afghanistan without Pakistan. So I support expenditures of public treasure into Pakistan under the Biden-Lugar legislation. I think it will go a long ways toward helping us correct some of the problems we have in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

As to Iraq, one of the central issues in this campaign was what to do about Iraq. I am pleased, and have a high degree of confidence, that this new administration is going to implement a game plan in Iraq to secure the gains that have been achieved. The sacrifices that were made because of our initial mistakes were inside the 20.

And I can say this to the new president -- next week, he will be president -- that the challenges facing us in Iraq cannot be solved by 100,000 troops. We have an opportunity now in a responsible manner to bring our troops home, but we have huge challenges on the political front. And the vice president and myself have briefed the president about a new strategy to create a unified vision within Iraq that will allow us to come home and leave behind a stable, reliable partner called Iraq that will shift the balance of power in the Mideast in a positive way.

So it's going to take more money. It's going to take more troop engagement. But having been one of the chief opponents of these two gentlemen, I am very pleased with the attitude and the policies they're fashioning to make sure that America gets it right in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.

And thank you for allowing me to go.

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA: Well, let me be brief. First of all, thank you, Joe, for the outstanding trip that you took, and thank you for having the wisdom and foresight to invite Lindsey Graham, because there -- these two represent in their respective parties as smart and as dedicated a pair of public officials as we have.

And Joe I drafted as vice president, but Lindsey Graham I'm drafting as one of our counselors in dealing with foreign policy, because the fact is, is our tradition has always been that our differences end at the water's edge, and that at a certain point it is imperative for us to have a clear, coherent strategy at home so that the young men and women who are day to day engaged in extraordinary -- extraordinarily difficult, you know, deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, that they are well served.

And so the trip that both of you took and the recommendations that you're going to be delivering to me are going to be of enormous help in making sure that we do what is my number-one task as president-elect and as president, and that is to keep the American people safe and to make sure that when we deploy our military, that we do so with a clear sense of mission and with strong support from the American people. And I think the trip that you've taken helps us move in that direction.

So, with that, I'm going to take -- with that, you'll have to read the rest at the Swamp

AP: Graham says good will for Obama across the world.
Video:

Obama Talks Jobs In Ohio Jan. 16


Obama is going to Ohio to promote his jobs package. From Change.gov:

Washington—On Friday, January 16th, 2009, President-elect Barack Obama will travel to Bedford Heights, Ohio, to meet with workers and discuss an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which would aim to save or create three to four million new American jobs and make the long-term investments needed to build a 21st century economy.

President-elect Obama will tour the Cardinal Fastener & Specialty Company, a growing company with innovative production practices that manufactures parts used to construct wind turbines. President-elect Obama will discuss how companies like Cardinal Fastener and workers like those in Bedford Heights would benefit from an American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, which would aim to create nearly half a million American jobs by investing in clean energy like wind power.

President-elect Obama will tour the plant and then hold a meeting with workers on the factory floor. The meeting is by inviation only but open to the press. The tour will be pooled.

Obama Talks Terrorism With Katie Couric

Not much new in this interview, but here it is...

Dramatic Reading of Constitution at Newseum Jan. 18


A mix of politicians, writers, historians and celebrities will participate in a dramatic reading of the U.S. Constitution at the Newseum at noon Sunday. The event, sponsored by People For the American Way Foundation, will be held in a television studio in the museum and broadcast on a big screen in the building's Great Hall. WaPo
Some of the readers:
civil rights pioneer Mary Frances Berry
· actress Alfre Woodard
· Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky
· writer Michael Chabon
· Congressman Chaka Fattah
· news anchor Maureen Bunyan
· author and linguist Deborah Tannen
· blogger and Air America correspondent Ana Marie Cox
· Freedom Forum Chairman Charles Overby
· former USA Today executive editor Ken Paulson
· actor John Astin
· “Obama Girl” Leah Kauffman
· a member of the Tuskegee Airmen
· actress Beth Broderick
· attorney Thurgood Marshall Jr.
· Olympic athlete David Banks

Obama's Letter to His Daughters

The letter, awwwww, is in Parade magazine.

Here's part of the letter:
Dear Malia and Sasha,

I know that you've both had a lot of fun these last two years on the campaign trail, going to picnics and parades and state fairs, eating all sorts of junk food your mother and I probably shouldn't have let you have. But I also know that it hasn't always been easy for you and Mom, and that as excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart. I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey.

When I was a young man, I thought life was all about me—about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want. But then the two of you came into my world with all your curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart and light up my day. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important anymore. I soon found that the greatest joy in my life was the joy I saw in yours. And I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation.

I want all our children to go to schools worthy of their potential—schools that challenge them, inspire them, and instill in them a sense of wonder about the world around them. I want them to have the chance to go to college—even if their parents aren't rich. And I want them to get good jobs: jobs that pay well and give them benefits like health care, jobs that let them spend time with their own kids and retire with dignity.

I want us to push the boundaries of discovery so that you'll live to see new technologies and inventions that improve our lives and make our planet cleaner and safer. And I want us to push our own human boundaries to reach beyond the divides of race and region, gender and religion that keep us from seeing the best in each other.

Sometimes we have to send our young men and women into war and other dangerous situations to protect our country—but when we do, I want to make sure that it is only for a very good reason, that we try our best to settle our differences with others peacefully, and that we do everything possible to keep our servicemen and women safe. And I want every child to understand that the blessings these brave Americans fight for are not free—that with the great privilege of being a citizen of this nation comes great responsibility. Read the rest.

A class of students reads the letter:

Obama's Old Chrysler 300 on EBay


Apparently, the owner of the car is selling it at eBay. Opening bid: $100,000

Video of Obama Meeting With Calderon

Obama met with Mexico's Calderon Monday. Obama discusses what they talked about:

Obama Meeting Liberal Media Tonight


Last night he met with conservatives, including Peggy Noonan, Charles Krauthammer and David Brooks. 
Tonight: 

Barack Obama may have dined with conservative columnists Tuesday night, but that doesn't mean the president-elect is leaving the liberals out. Politico's Michael Calderone reports that Obama met Wednesday at his transition headquarters with a group of pundits from the left, including Frank Rich and Maureen Dowd of the New York Times, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow and the Washington Post's E.J. Dionne and Eugene Robinson. (Some moderates were included as well.) Salon

Obama Meeting With Justice John Roberts

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will be swearing Obama in Jan. 20.

President-elect Barack Obama will be paying a courtesy call this afternoon to the man he once voted against to lead the nation's highest court, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.

Back in September 2005, Obama voted against Roberts to be chief justice even though he said he had no doubts that the conservative Roberts had the intellectual heft to run the court. What he questioned, he said at the time, was Roberts' ability to rule against power on behalf of the little guy. Read more at the Swamp

Watch Inauguration at the Movie Theater

The free tickets are only available for certain cities, including New York, Dallas, Boston and Phoenix. Sign up here. Watch at Starbucks too. 

NEW YORK -- President-elect Barack Obama is on his way to the big screen, thanks to a deal between MSNBC and Screenvision that will put the news channel's inaugural coverage in 27 theaters around the country.

Free tickets are being handed out via MSNBC.com to see the inauguration and parade from 11 a.m.-3:30 p.m. ET at the 27 theaters run by 11 exhibitor partners in 21 markets. Midday Tuesday isn't necessarily a big movie time, so it helps to fill the theater -- and boost popcorn and soda sales -- at a time when it's not usually busy. Hollywood Reporter

Inauguration Events and Times Jan. 18 - Jan. 21


The swearing-in ceremony starts at 11:30 eastern time.
Here is the latest information on all of the official events from Pic2009:

SUNDAY, JANUARY 18
Streamed online at HBO
We Are One: Opening Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial, between Constitution Avenue NW and Independence Avenue SW on 23rd Street

Doors open: 8:00 AM EST

Event begins: 2:30 PM EST

This event is free and open to the public.

Public gates open at 8:00 AM at the following locations:

- Public Entry A: Constitution Avenue at 19th Street

- Public Entry B: Constitution Avenue at Virginia Avenue

- Public Entry C: 17th Street at North Elm Walk

- Public Entry D: 17th Street at South Elm Walk

- Public Entry E: Independence Avenue at the DC War Memorial

The Reflecting Pool area, JFK Hockey Fields and Constitution Gardens are open to the public and space will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Restricted items for the Lincoln Memorial grounds for the Inaugural Opening Ceremonies:

- Firearms

- Ammunition

- Explosives

- Weapons of any kind

- Aerosols

- Supports for signs

- Packages

- Coolers

- Thermal or glass containers

- Backpacks

- Bags and signs exceeding the size restrictions of 6"X4"X8”

- Laser pointers

- Animals other than helper/guide dogs

- Structures

- Bicycles

- Any other items determined to be a potential safety hazard


MONDAY, JANUARY 19

Renew America Together: A Call to Service
On Monday, the President-elect, Vice President-elect, and their families - just like Americans in communities across the country - will participate in activities dedicated to serving others.

To find out more about “Renew America Together” or find a service event near you, please visit USAservice.org.

Community Service Day Lunch
This event is invitation only, and will be pooled press.

Please visit www.pic2009.org for updates.


Kids’ Inaugural: We Are The Future
The Verizon Center

Doors open: 5:00 PM EST

Event begins: 7:00 PM EST

Please visit www.pic2009.org for updates.

Bipartisan Dinners
Each of the three bipartisan dinners will honor an American whose lifetime of public service has been enhanced by a dedication to bipartisan achievement.

National Building Museum
Honoree: General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret.)

Event begins: 5:00 PM EST

This event is invitation only, and will be pooled press.


Hilton Washington
Honoree: Senator John McCain

Event begins: 5:00 PM EST

This event is invitation only, and will be pooled press.


Union Station
Honoree: Vice President-elect Joe Biden

Event begins: 6:30 PM EST

This event is invitation only, and will be pooled press.



TUESDAY, JANUARY 20

The Swearing-In Ceremony
United States Capitol, West Front

Event begins: 11:30 AM EST

No tickets are required to view the Inaugural Ceremony on the National Mall west of 4th Street.

We anticipate large crowds. As such, we strongly encourage you to visit the official Presidential Inaugural Committee at www.pic2009.org for updates, directions and additional information regarding transportation and pedestrian routes. Text the word “open” to 56333 to receive official Inauguration news updates, transportation notices, and ways you can participate, whether they’re in Washington or in your own community.


Inaugural Luncheon
United States Capitol

Following the swearing-in ceremony, President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, and members of their families will attend an inaugural luncheon hosted by the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies.

This event is not open to the public. Please contact the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies at 202-244-2228 for more information.


Inaugural Parade
Pennsylvania Avenue

Event begins: While there is no official start time for the parade, it traditionally begins around 2:30 PM EST

The majority of the parade route will be free and open to the public for standing room access. Viewing spots along the parade route are available on a first come, first serve basis. A limited number of bleacher seats were available for sale but have sold out.


Official Inaugural Balls
A ticket is required for admission to each ball.

Neighborhood Inaugural Ball
Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Hall D
Doors open: 5:00 PM EST

Event begins: 7:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 10:30 PM EST



President Obama Home States Ball
Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Hall E
Doors open: 5:00 PM EST

Event begins: 7:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 11:30 PM EST



Commander-in-Chief’s Ball
National Building Museum
Doors open: 5:30 PM EST

Event begins: 7:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 12:00 midnight

Vice President Biden Home States Ball
Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Ballroom
Doors open: 6:00 PM EST

Event begins: 8:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 11:30 PM EST


Mid-Atlantic Ball
Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Hall A
Doors open: 6:00 PM EST

Event begins: 8:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 12:30 AM EST


Midwestern Ball
Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Hall C
Doors open: 6:00 PM EST

Event begins: 8:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 1:30 AM EST


Western Ball
Walter E. Washington Convention Center - Hall B
Doors open: 6:00 PM EST

Event begins: 8:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 1:00 AM EST



Youth Ball
Hilton Washington
Doors open: 7:00 PM EST

Event begins: 9:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 2:30 AM EST



Eastern Ball
Union Station
Doors open: 8:00 PM EST

Event begins: 10:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 2:30 AM EST



Southern Ball
DC Armory
Doors open: 8:00 PM EST

Event begins: 10:00 PM EST

Event concludes: approximately 2:00 AM EST



WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21

National Prayer Service
Washington National Cathedral

The morning after the inauguration, a National Prayer Service with President Barack Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden, and members of their families will be held at the National Cathedral. The service will bring together dignitaries and Americans of diverse faiths to celebrate the previous day’s events through prayer, readings, and musical performances.

Doors Open: 7:30 AM EST

All ticketed guests should arrive before 8:30 AM EST.

This event is not open to the public. The service is by invitation only and tickets are required.
For other balls and events, visit here.

Shinseki Says His Challenge is Transforming VA

Gen. Eric Shinseki is being heard today to be confirmed to head Veteran Affairs. Obama's picks are now going through senate confirmation hearings.
Schedule.
Others being heard today include Tom Vilsack, agriculture, and Lisa Jackson, environmental protection agency. 

With his own about to begin, General Shinseki told his confirmation hearing to be head of the Department of Veterans Affairs how he will be dealing with some of the costliest aftermath of a war that he famously predicted, just before the curtain fell on his first act, would bog down hundreds of thousands of troops for years. With the invasion of Iraq looming, his Pentagon bosses rebuked him for saying that, and he retired a few months later as Army Chief of Staff.

So there was great anticipation Wednesday for what would be the general’s longest public discussion in more than five years.

In written answers provided to committee members in advance of the hearing, General Shinseki said his priorities would be post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injuries suffered by troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as finding jobs for vets, examining and dealing with the problem of homeless vets, and helping all wounded vets make the difficult transition from military health care to VA facilities.

In his written answers to committee members, the general said his that the “over-arching challenge that the VA faces is its own transformation into a 21st century organization.” It was an echo of the transformation theme that dominated his time as the Army’s top general. Read more atNYT

Obama Has Some Inauguration Advice

This is our opportunity to come together in common purpose, he says. Unprecedented numbers of people will come to Washington. It will be cold and the lines will be long, he says. Text the word "Open" to 56333 for inauguration news and tips. He mentions the following 2 balls:
Monday - the kid's inaugural concert to honor the kids of military families, which will be broadcast on the Disney channel.
Tuesday - ABC will broadcast the first-ever neighborhood ball. It will also be webcast. Obama says on Monday the Obamas and the Bidens will spend time volunteering. He's asking us to do the same.

Obama's Official Portrait by Pete Souza


At Change.gov, it notes that this is the first time that an official portrait was taken with a digital camera.
For more on the White House photographer, Pete Souza, visit here.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Obama's Basketball Playing Cabinet


From The Swamp:

SI has the "who's who'' of the incoming administration's starting lineup:

Arne Duncan Secretary of Education 6'5" Co-captain at Harvard in the mid '80's/played in USBL and Australia

Eric Holder Attorney General 6'2" Columbia freshman team/co-captain of Stuyvesant High (NYC)

Ret. Gen. James Jones Natl. Security Adviser 6'5" Frontcourt reserve at Georgetown 1963-65

Susan Rice Ambassador to U.N. 5'3" Point guard at National Cathedral school (D.C.)/played at Oxford

Timothy Geithner Treasury Secretary Played in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York league
Sports Illustrated's Audacity of Hoops:
Obama remains something short of the total hoops package. He can't dunk. He doesn't have a nickname. His usual getup of black sweatpants and gray T-shirt (call it the Police Academy Trainee look) isn't likely to set a trend. But he does stick his nose in it. In Kuwait last July he didn't merely visit U.S. troops, he swished a three for them -- first try, no warmup. And as president he'll keep the counsel of a roster's worth of former ballplayers, in and out of his Cabinet, many better at the game than he.

10 year Old Reporter to Cover Inauguration

A 10-year-old South Florida reporter is going to Washington.

Damon Weaver, a reporter for Kathryn E. Cunningham Canal Point Elementary School's KEC TV, made news during the presidential campaign when he interviewed the now vice president-elect, Joe Biden. CF News
Remember Damon?

Obama Dining With Conservatives

Apparently, they're dining at George Will's house. I like George Will and often, I agree with him.
The HP gathers that Obama is dining with George, William Kristol, David Brooks and Charles Krauthammer, who absolutely can't stand Obama.
Could you imagine George Bush reaching out like this? UH UH.

10 Poets Odes to Obama


The inauguration of a new president just seems to be a fitting time for poetry, and so 10 American poets accepted the AP's invitation to come up with a little something to mark Barack Obama's ascension to the presidency.

The poems came from an eclectic assortment of American wordsmiths, ranging from a former poet laureate and a Pulitzer Prize winner to a self-described "cowboy poet." IHT
Read them all here
Digital poet Christopher Funkhouser created 3 poems that you can SEE. They are definitely unique and I think I liked them, the first one, anyway.
What's interesting are the excuses of the people who were invited to write a poem but didn't:
New Yorker Sharon Olds deemed her efforts unworthy.

"It's as I suspected," she e-mailed. "I'm not able to come up with anything near good enough, tho I used a lot of paper!"

Andrei Codrescu, who was born in Romania and became a U.S. citizen in 1981, wasn't one even to venture a try.

"I voted for Obama, but I grew up under Ceausescu," Codrescu wrote of the former Romanian dictator. "The idea of writing poems for people in power gives me the creeps."
Here's Ted Newman's:
PLEA TO THE PRES

BAILOUTS FOR THE BIG GUYS

BUY BACK THEIR ROTTED FRUIT

FORGET THE CANOPY OF GOLD

IT'S THE PLATINUM PARACHUTE.

NO ONE INDICTS THE AUTHORS

GUYS LIKE FRANK AND DODD

THEY SAY SHOW ME THE MONEY

WE'LL BAIL YOU OUT BY GOD.

THE FRED AND FANNY WATCHDOGS

WITH OUR MONEY PLAY SO LOOSE

THEY BORROW US INTO SERFDOM

AS THEY KILL THE GOLDEN GOOSE.

THEY POSTURE AND PONTIFICATE

AS THEY DIVIDE THE LOOT

THEN REWARD THE BIG CONTRIBUTORS

WITH PLATINUM PARACHUTES.

THE DOUBLESPEAK AND DOUBLETALK

OF LEADERS PSUEDO-BRAVE

MORTAGAGE CHILDREN'S FUTURES

AS THEY TAX US TO THE GRAVE.

THANKS TO CORRUPT LEADERSHIP

AND IGNORANCE TO BOOT

THEY'LL SAVE US THE UNWASHED MASSESS

WITH PURE LEAD PARACHUTES.

SO PLEASE MR. OBAMA

DON'T LET THEM PLAY THEIR GAMES

DON'T LET THE LIES CONTINUE

DON'T LET THEM HIDE THE BLAME.

BE THE PRESIDENT OUR COUNTRY NEEDS

LET'S REALLY REARRANGE

THE POLITICAL HYPOCRACY

KEEP YOUR WORD AND BRING US CHANGE.

--By Ted Newman.

Obama Picks Julius Genachowski to Head FCC


Genachowski, now on Obama's transition team, has been picked to head the FCC. 
This choice appears to be a good one for we, the people:

WASHINGTON, Jan 13 (Reuters) - Consumer and public interest groups heaped praise on U.S. President-elect Barack Obama's choice to head the Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday, and they predicted smooth confirmation by the Senate.

Obama has selected Julius Genachowski, a technology executive and former classmate from Harvard Law School, to lead the FCC, a Democratic source said late on Monday.

Genachowski was chief counsel for Reed Hundt, an FCC chairman under former President Bill Clinton. He also held various positions at Internet search and media company IAC/InterActiveCorp (IACI.O) and several firms investing in technology, including Rock Creek Ventures and LaunchBox Digital.

Among the FCC's mandates are regulation of telephone and cable companies, oversight of concentration of ownership of radio and television outlets, and auctioning public airwaves. Read the rest.
Information Week calls Julius a tech guru.
More on Julius from the Financial Times:
“Julius will without doubt be the first true internet chairman” of the agency, said one former FCC official. If confirmed, he was likely to make the expansion of broadband internet access a central part of his agenda, the official added. The issue has already been identified as an important part of the Obama economic stimulus package.

As a key aide to Barry Diller, the US media mogul, Mr Genachowski played a central role in creating IAC, now one of the largest US internet concerns. He later went on to found a venture capital firm in Washington.

Mr Genachowski was also the mastermind behind Mr Obama’s online campaign strategy during last year’s presidential election. The campaign’s pioneering use of social networking, internet video and other online techniques has since made it the blueprint for political campaigns globally.
Here is his bio at Rock Creek Ventures:
Julius Genachowski is a cofounder and managing director of Rock Creek Ventures. He is a founding partner of LaunchBox Digital, and chairman and cofounder of Thummit, which are Rock Creek Ventures companies. Julius is also a special advisor at General Atlantic. Prior to Rock Creek Ventures, Julius was a senior executive for eight years at IAC/InterActiveCorp (1997-2005), serving as Chief of Business Operations, General Counsel, and a member of Barry Diller's Office of the Chairman, and playing a key role in IAC's growth to become a multibillion-dollar global major e-commerce and new media company. He has served on the Boards of Directors or Advisors of several companies, including Web.com, Ticketmaster, The Motley Fool, Beliefnet (sold to NewsCorp), Truveo (sold to AOL), and Rapt (sold to Microsoft). He is part of the founding group of New Resource Bank, the country's first commercial green bank. Business Week listed Mr. Genachowski as one of 25 "Managers to Watch" in the media industry in 2005, and American Lawyer listed him as one of the "Public Sector 45" in 1997. Julius has served as Chief Counsel to the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission from 1994-1997. He was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Souter (1993-1994), to U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. (ret.) (1992-1992), and to Chief Judge Abner Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1991-1992). He worked in Congress in 1995-1998, on the staff of the special Congressional committee investigating the Iran-Contra Affair, and has worked for Senator (then Representative) Charles E. Schumer. Julius received a JD from Harvard Law School and a BA from Columbia College. He is on the Board of Directors of Common Sense Media, and has served on the Board of Advisors of Environmental Entrepreneurs.

Ben Bernanke Speaks at London School of Economics - Video

InaugurAle


Americans at work.

For Mount Pleasant homebrewer Sam Chapple-Sokol, victory tastes like a cold glass of beer. The mastermind behind election night’s Audacity of Hops brew has returned with a tasty inauguration edition of his Barack Obama-inspired recipe: the InaugurAle.

“It’s the first time I’ve repeated a recipe,” says Chapple-Sokol, who has scrubbed clean 200 used beer bottles for four batches of his InaugurAle. “It’s the most I’ve made at one time. It didn’t burn me out, but it was a big expense and effort. At one point before Thanksgiving, I brewed straight from 2 PM to 3 AM.”

As a response to Obama’s decisive victory, Chapple-Sokol has dropped the Challenger variety of hops for the more aptly titled Liberty. He’s also had a friend print labels with an added “InaugurAle Edition” emblem modeled after Pabst Blue Ribbon—Obama’s beer of choice last Spring while courting voters in North Carolina. Read more at Washingtonian.

Obama Lobbying on the Hill Today

From CQ:

President-elect Barack Obama is stepping up his lobbying blitz on Senate Democrats in an effort to win the release of the second half of the $700 billion financial industry bailout fund, as a resolution that would block the funding was introduced in the chamber.

One day after the Bush administration officially asked for release of the remaining $350 billion for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), at Obama’s request, the president-elect headed to Capitol Hill to push for the funds. During a meeting with Senate Democrats at their weekly luncheon, Obama planned to stress that there will be new restrictions on how the Treasury Department can allocate the remaining funds.

He is continuing a push that began Monday with phone calls to senators on both sides of the aisle touting his plan to make changes in the bailout program (PL 110-343). There has been widespread anger in Congress over how the Bush administration has used the funds — primarily to recapitalize banks and other financial institutions. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle want Treasury to focus more on helping struggling homeowners and businesses, and they are demanding stronger accountability for how the money is spent.

The republicans are wary and that's a good thing -- this money must be properly spent and accounted for:
“So far the incoming administration has not said whether it plans to limit the funds to their original purpose or to expand their use to help specific industries,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell , R-Ky., said on the floor Tuesday. “The taxpayers are eager to hear the new administration’s plan, and so are Republicans in Congress. We’ll hear from the incoming administration soon, we’ll be happy to listen. They’ll have a receptive, albeit cautious, audience.”

Sen. Orrin G. Hatch , R-Utah, described broad dissatisfaction with the way the first $350 billion was spent. While saying he hadn’t decided yet how he’ll vote on releasing the remaining funds, he expects the second installment to be approved.

“There has been a lot of upset about that,” Hatch said. “I haven’t made up my mind about it. I suspect that it will pass.”

Read all about it at CQ Politics.

How to Draw George Bush

Political Cartoonist Daryl Cagle tells how he draws George Bush and he has posted some funny Bush cartoons:

Around the world, cartoonists almost always draw President Bush as a cowboy. Outside America, a Texas cowboy is seen as: uneducated, ill mannered, a “trigger-happy marshal” or outlaw who is prone to violence. Cowboy depictions of the president by worldwide cartoonists are meant to be insults, but Americans see cowboys differently. In the USA, cowboys are noble, independent souls, living a romantic lifestyle by taming the wilderness and taking matters into their own hands whenever they see a wrong that needs to be righted. We are a nation of wanna-be cowboys.
The image of President Bush evolves with each cartoonist’s personal perspective. Back in 2000, Bush started out as most political cartoon characters start out, as a caricature of a real person, meant to be recognizable from a photograph. The cartoonists soon stopped looking at photographs and started doing drawings of drawings, then drawings of drawings of drawings, so that the George W. Bush drawings morphed into strangely deformed characters that looked nothing like the real man, but are instantly recognizable because we’ve come to know the drawings as a symbol of the man. It is surprising that each cartoonist’s drawings of the president look entirely different, but each is easily recognizable as representing the same character.
Read and see more. 

Obama Meets Spider-Man Comic Expected to Sellout


The comic will be out tomorrow. Read more about Obama's appearance in the Amazing Spider-Man here.
"Even Spider-Man couldn't solve the economy" - uh-oh:

Comics Reporter says that Marvel created a comic that's the equivalent of the commemorative plate:

It would just be a whole lot nicer if a company that has concentrated on story the last decade or so to astounding benefit made a solid comic out of the event rather than a kind of cruddy-looking, cynical one. It's not like there aren't a lot of stories you could tell there. What Marvel did instead seems to have more in common with a commemorative plate than the kind of gripping, pulpy narrative President-Elect Obama as a young man likely found solace in years and years ago.

Teachers Want Obama as Principal for a Day

This is the latest work by Mason Fetzer. I love his art. This piece will be at the Manifest Hope DC art show prior to inauguration. 

Barack Obama, Abraham Lincoln, Oprah Winfrey and Bill Cosby headed up the list of prominent people that K-8 teachers would most like to be their principal for the day. The list, compiled by Northpoint Horizons, a Chicago-based educational publisher, was part of a national survey in which the company asked teachers to describe the key challenges they face and things they need to be successful in their classroom routine.
"We knew this question would offer insights into teachers' most pressing concerns," said NPH Director of Marketing Linda Schilling. "While the list of principals was quite diverse, most of our respondents shared a common theme: The need for a role model who can inspire and champion their efforts to improve the quality of education in their classrooms, schools and society."
Top ten vote-getters included: Barack Obama; Oprah Winfrey; Bill Cosby; Abraham Lincoln; Martin Luther King, Jr.; Bill Gates; Hillary Clinton; Benjamin Franklin and John F. Kennedy. George Bush was also mentioned " ... so he could see firsthand how NCLB (No Child Left Behind) and its mandates have impacted teachers and students." Runners-up included Ronald Reagan, Gandhi, Marva Collins, Maya Angelou, Eleanor Roosevelt, George Clooney and Mike Ditka. Read more at Earth Times.

Obama to be Hands-On Leader


This story in the WSJ takes a look at Obama's leadership style:

As that suggests, we may not yet know the details of Mr. Obama's economic-stimulus plan or his policy toward Iran, but we have learned a lot during the transition about the kind of president he will be and the kind of administration he will run.

The period has been instructive as much for what hasn't been said as for what has been said. Little has been said about "delegating power" or "cabinet government," phrases thrown about in past transitions to suggest decision-making would be decentralized so the president can save his time and brain cells for just a few items.

Instead, it is clear that the center of Barack Obama's administration will be Barack Obama himself. There will be more people with big feet on his White House staff than in an NBA locker room.

Beyond that, he intends to be not just commander in chief but communicator in chief, handling both the substantive and the inspirational messages, taking advantage of new communications technologies, and likely mixing it up with the press more than his predecessor did. Read the whole thing.

Steven Chu Rocks Capitol Hill

Steven Chu testified at his confirmation hearing today before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Here is the rest of Obama's green team.
Green types are excited about Chu and today, he got rock star treatment:

Only on Capitol Hill - and maybe an elite physics department near you - does a Nobel-winning scientist garner round-the-corner lines, an overflow crowd and a cascade of flashbulbs when he steps out in public.

That was the reception this morning for Steven Chu, the physicist and director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Labratory, when he showed up in a Senate committee room this morning for a hearing on his nomination as Barack Obama's energy secretary.

Hillary Clinton may have the bigger star power in the confirmation world today, as she prepares for a committee grilling on her nomination as secretary of state. But here in the Dirksen Senate Office Building, packed with energy lobbyists and non-profit executives, Chu is the one basking in a warm, bipartisan welcome.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), who chairs the energy committee, opened the floodgates of praise for Chu's academic and scientific record, saying he uniquely possesses "the vision and insight necessary to forge an energy policy for the 21st century."

The committee's top Republican, Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, told Chu "It's probably fair to say that you are uniquely poised in your ability to bring with you your background that relates the science and the technology" of the energy department. read more at The Swamp.
Chu vows to fight climate change. Notice that "climate change" is now being used more often now than "global warming." That may have to do with the fact that scientists are taking into consideration all of the affects of climate change on the Earth such as wildfires, flooding... not just global warming. Obama's science head John Holdren calls it "global disruption." Here's Chu:
"Climate change is a growing and pressing problem. It is now clear that if we continue on our current path, we run the risk of dramatic, disruptive changes to our climate in the lifetimes of our children and grandchildren," Chu said at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Chu said the Obama administration will seek to impose a cap-and-trade system to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Under such a system, power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities would have to buy and sell pollution permits to spew global warming emissions. Reuters.

Hillary: We Can't Give Up on Middle East Peace

Hillary Clinton just finished testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for her confirmation hearing to be secretary of state.
She said that we can't give up on peace in the Middle East. Israel's security needs must be addressed but at the same time, Palestinian aspirations must also be addressed.
She talked about the reduction of nuclear weapons and "smart power," the use of non-military might such as diplomacy and persuasion.
The gravest threat, she said, is weapons of mass destruction getting into the hands of terrorists.
She talked about strengthening ties with Europe, Japan, Canada, our No. 1 trading partner, Mexico, No. 3 trading partner, Latin America, India, China and other Mid-East countries, such as Egypt and Jordan.
She described relations with Russia as "cooperative engagement." The U.S. also needs to seek agreements with Russia to reduce nuclear stockpiles.
At the end of her testimony, she talked about Ann Dunham, Obama's mother, and her work in micro-financing and how important small loans are to developing parts of the world. 
Hillary is expected to be confirmed.
Read more at the Swamp and NYT is live blogging the hearing.
John Kerry wrote a piece for the Boston Globe on the new direction of foreign relations. He emphasized multilateral problem solving, as opposed to Bush's unilateral approach, with strong diplomacy.
Video will be up at C-SPAN.org. I'll post it when it's available.
Here is the upcoming senate confirmation hearings schedule.
Obama's energy pick Steven Chu, and Arne Duncan, education, and a couple of others are scheduled to testify today.

Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps Practices for Inauguration

I'm a sucker for marching bands:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Axelrod's New West Wing Painting By His Daughter

When David Axelrod moves into his West Wing office next week, he will have a new painting to hang on the wall as he starts a new chapter in his life as a senior advisor to Barack Obama.

The painting, done by his disabled daughter with some help from an art instructor, appears like any other of the White House. But upon closer inspection, it has a distinct feature: Chicago's skyline is framed in a reflecting pond outside the mansion.

Axelrod's daughter, Lauren, presented the painting Monday after a speech her father gave at a $250,000 fundraising event for Misericordia, a North Side facility for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Read more at the Swamp
More on Axelrod's work in helping to cure epilepsy. Lauren has permanent brain damage because of epileptic seizures she suffered as a baby.
10 things you didn't know about Axelrod, who is now a presidential advisor.

1996 Interview With the Obamas

MICHELLE OBAMA: There is a strong possibility that Barack will pursue a political career, although it’s unclear. There is a little tension with that. I’m very wary of politics. I think he’s too much of a good guy for the kind of brutality, the skepticism.
When you are involved in politics, your life is an open book, and people can come in who don’t necessarily have good intent. I’m pretty private, and like to surround myself with people that I trust and love. In politics you’ve got to open yourself to a lot of different people. There is a possibility that our futures will go that way, even though I want to have kids and travel, spend time with family, and like spending time with friends. But we are going to be busy people doing lots of stuff. And it’ll be interesting to see what life has to offer. In many ways, we are here for the ride, just sort of seeing what opportunities open themselves up. And the more you experiment the easier it is to do different things. If I had stayed in a law firm and made partner, my life would be completely different. I wouldn’t know the people I know, and I would be more risk-averse. Barack has helped me loosen up and feel comfortable with taking risks, not doing things the traditional way and sort of testing it out, because that is how he grew up. I’m more traditional; he’s the one in the couple that, I think, is the less traditional individual. You can probably tell from the photographs—he’s just more out there, more flamboyant. I’m more, like, “Well, let’s wait and see. What did that look like? How much does it weigh?” You know you want to read what Obama said.

Obama and the Sea Turtle

Here's a mural that can be found at .......

Here's another comic-inspired poster that I like by Josh Budich:

Conservative Strategy: Take Down the Media

The conservative realm of the republican party doesn't seem to be interested in looking inward. Instead, it wants to lay blame squarely on the media. 
Just look at the recent examples: Sarah Palin attacks the media in a new documentary and Joe the Plumber becomes a war correspondent in Israel and blames the media for everything.
It's an immature strategy. The media isn't perfect but it's not to blame for republican loss. Palin should look for ways to become more adult-like. 

I'm just thankful Obama won. Can you imagine what it would be like if Palin was our vice president? If Joe the Plumber was validated? Ugh. 

Bush's Biggest Mistake

Bush's biggest mistake: he didn't communicate with Americans. There was ZERO transparency. 
Here he is in a finely compressed video, being himself and bidding farewell to the press today:

We Are The One and More Inaugural Festivities

Update: See We Are One live streamed at HBO.com or listen at NPR.org.

Get more inauguration details on balls, events, TV coverage, tips if you're going... here.
More inauguration festivities from PIC:
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is pleased to announce the producers and initial talent lineup for WE ARE ONE: THE OBAMA INAUGURAL CELEBRATION AT THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL, the Opening Celebration for the 56th Presidential Inaugural, to be presented exclusively by HBO on Sunday, January 18 (7:00-9:00 p.m. ET/PT). The event will be free and open to the public, kicking off the most open and accessible Inauguration in history.

The special will be executive produced by George Stevens, Jr. (The Kennedy Center Honors), and produced by Don Mischer (Olympic Ceremonies) who will also direct the special, and Michael Stevens (The American Film Institute Salutes) who is also writing the special, and will be a production of The Stevens Company in association with Don Mischer Productions.

Musical performers scheduled for the event include Beyonce, Mary J. Blige, Bono, Garth Brooks, Sheryl Crow, Renee Fleming, Josh Groban, Herbie Hancock, Heather Headley, John Legend, Jennifer Nettles, John Mellencamp, Usher Raymond IV, Shakira, Bruce Springsteen, James Taylor, will.i.am, and Stevie Wonder. Among those reading historical passages will be Jamie Foxx, Martin Luther King III, Queen Latifah and Denzel Washington. The Rt. Reverend V. Gene Robinson will give the invocation. Rob Mathes will be the music director and arranger for the backing band, which will support all of the artists. Additional performers will be announced as they are confirmed.
A kids' inaugural celebration:
Televised to the nation, the Opening Celebration will be a declaration of common purpose and new beginnings. The Sunday afternoon performance will be grounded in history and brought to life with entertainment that relates to the themes that shaped Barack Obama and which will be the hallmarks of his administration.

HBO will televise the event on an open signal, working with all of its distributors to allow Americans across the country with access to cable, telcos or satellite television to join in the Opening Celebration for free.


The 56th Inauguration promises to be the most inclusive in history, and the Opening Celebration is one of a series of inaugural events that reflect that commitment. On Saturday, the President-elect, Vice President-elect and their families will journey to the nation’s capital via train, holding events that are free and open to the public along the way. They will be joined by a group of everyday Americans they met along their road to the White House. On January 19th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President-elect Obama will call on all Americans to make an ongoing commitment to serve their communities and their country. A new website, USAservice.org, makes it easy for Americans to organize service events or find existing events to participate in. To date, nearly 5,000 events have been organized across the country. That evening, Michelle Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and their families will host a free “Kids’ Inaugural” concert to honor military families, broadcast live on the Disney Channel and Radio Disney.

This spirit of openness will continue on Inauguration Day, when, for the first time in history, the entire length of the National Mall will be open to the public for the swearing in ceremony. Local D.C. students have also been given the chance to receive tickets in front of the White House for the Inaugural Parade for themselves and their family members based on the submission of essays answering the question, “How can I contribute to my neighborhood through community service?“

On the evening of Inauguration Day, the first ball that President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will attend will be the first-ever Neighborhood Inaugural Ball. The ball will be broadcast live on ABC and over the Internet, bringing together neighborhoods across the country in the spirit of unity and celebration.

The sum of these public events is an Inauguration that allows more Americans than ever before to come together as one nation and one people, united in our resolve to tackle our greatest common challenges and move this country forward together.

Barack and Michelle Obama Volunteering Jan. 19

Colin Powell recently launched Obama's national day of service. Not that the media noted it or anything. A few did.
Volunteering doesn't rank with Blago and Burris. Anyway, the volunteering campaign kicks off Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and you can host or attend an event. Find out here.
It's Michelle!

It's Barack!

This is just a fine video - Inaugural call to angels:

Manifest Hope DC Inaugural Art Show


The art gallery would be one stop I would make if I was lucky enough to be going to the inauguration. Much of the art I use on this site comes from the Obama Art Report, which blogs on all the new Obama-inspired art. Some of the work will be at the show. 

The MANIFEST HOPE: DC Gallery will be open to the public in Washington, DC for the days preceding the Presidential Inauguration, Saturday, January 17th, 2009 through Monday, January 19th, 2009 between the hours of 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM. Art exhibition management will be provided by our Washington, DC gallery partner, Irvine Contemporary.
MANIFESTHOPE: DC
January 17th-19th, 2009
10:00am - 6:00pm
3333 M Street NW, Washington DC 20007